Of the three Wright properties I've visited, none had a physical location as spectacular as that of Fallingwater. Although many are fortunate enough to have visited it, how many can say they've seen an opera performed there? Yes, that's right, this weekend on the evenings of June 7 and 8-the same weekend as Wright's 146th birthday (and mine as well I might add, although I'm not nearly as old) the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh will perform "Shining Brow," on Fallingwater's famous exterior terraces. The audience will be viewing it from seating areas on a path and a bridge. The American opera has music by Daron Hagen (the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship among numerous other accolades) and libretto by Paul Muldoon, an acclaimed Irish poet And lest you think that this doesn't seem like that big of a deal, this will be the first time the most famous residence in the state of Pennsylvania will have ever hosted an opera. It will showcase the 11 most turbulent years of Wright's life, beginning with Wright's introduction with the Cheneys, his dalliances with Mrs. Cheney, and her subsequent death, as well as exploring his relationship with architect Louis Sullivan, his mentor and friend.
|“Photo courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy"|
The two act opera features five performers and seven musicians. While tickets are not cheap ($350), by all accounts it seems like a once in a lifetime experience. Is it really so special when Elton John goes on tour anymore, considering how many decades he's been touring? Yet some people wouldn't think twice about spending that same amount to see him live. Catching a performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City-well, tickets for such an event are hardly cheap, especially for prime seating, but it's still just an indoor venue. But to watch an opera live at Fallingwater-that is undoubtedly something that doesn't happen every year.
|Pittsburgh's Lara Lynn Cottrill as Mamah Cheney with Kevin Kees as Frank Lloyd Wright in Shining Brow (photo by |
Although I discovered these unique performances a bit too late for it to be approved by "in-house accounting" (i.e. me), it did seem like it would have been an incredible birthday to remember, all the more that Wright and I were born 118 years and a day apart. But if you're like me, hopefully you can catch a performance when it is performed next month at the Twentieth Century Club in the Oakland neighborhood, home to the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh's SummerFest 2013.
For tickets to "Shining Brow"s Fallingwater performances, click here.